Dec 6, 2022 - Health

Axios-Ipsos poll: Few COVID worries for the holidays

American's beliefs on the government's </br> response to COVID-19
Data: Axios and Ipsos research; Chart: Tory Lysik/Axios Visuals

Americans are entering the holidays for the first time in two years with COVID firmly in the back of their minds, according to the latest installment of the Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

The big picture: Public behavior on masking, social distancing and other precautions hasn't changed significantly since September, and 7 in 10 believe strongly or somewhat that we're moving to a point where the virus won't disrupt our daily lives.

  • Almost the same proportion believes the government should continue to monitor disease spread. But the public is nearly evenly split on the question of whether we've spent enough responding to the pandemic.
  • The findings show a continued bifurcation in which perhaps 30% of Americans remain acutely aware of the state of the public health emergency and continue to take steps like masking most of the time.
  • "With majorities getting out and about and only about 1 in 4 saying they're taking steps to avoid COVID or the flu, for most people this is going to be a COVID-worry free holiday," said Cliff Young, president of Ipsos U.S. Public Affairs.

Between the lines: Large segments of the public remain distrustful of the government's pandemic response, including the role of top infectious-disease expert Anthony Fauci.

  • 45% strongly or somewhat agreed with the statement that public health officials lied about how effective COVID-19 vaccines and masks are at preventing the virus' spread.
  • 39% strongly or somewhat think Fauci should be investigated for his role in the response.
  • 63% said they trust the Centers for Disease Control a great deal or a fair amount to provide accurate information about COVID, compared to 51% for Fauci and 43% for President Biden.
  • The skepticism comes with House Republicans poised to use their new majority to investigate ongoing pandemic policies and roll back lingering restrictions.

The public continues to grapple with what the government's involvement should be going forward.

  • 69% strongly or somewhat agree that the government should continue funding COVID monitoring and prevention measures.
  • But 44% strongly or somewhat agree with the statement America's already spent enough fighting COVID.
  • "Americans want the government to continue fighting COVID but don't want to be inconvenienced by it," said said Ipsos pollster and senior vice president Chris Jackson.

'Tripledemic' threat: The specter of other seasonal respiratory viruses like influenza or RSV is registering in people's minds, but isn't influencing how they live.

  • 48% believe there's a large or moderate risk of contracting a respiratory illness other than COVID.
  • But only 27% said they've changed their behavior in any way to reduce potential exposure.
  • 6% said they'd had a medical appointment delayed, canceled or triaged recently because an emergency facility was overwhelmed.

Positive mood: The lack of behavioral shifts may be connected to the public's generally positive mood.

  • Large majorities said they had very or somewhat good physical health (84%), mental health (84%), emotional well-being (85%) and home life (90%).
  • 77% reported having very or somewhat good personal finances, despite the roiling economy.
  • There's also an apparent concern for putting others in harm's way. Asked about their top concern related to COVID, 29% said spreading the virus to people at higher risk of serious illness — far ahead of other factors like developing "long COVID" or dealing with restrictions.

Methodology: This Axios/Ipsos Poll was conducted December 2-5 by Ipsos' KnowledgePanel®. This poll is based on a nationally representative probability sample of 1,147 general population adults age 18 or older.

  • The margin of sampling error is ±3.2 percentage points at the 95% confidence level, for results based on the entire sample of adults.
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